Vynl ~ Orderinny

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Everytime I stare into a plate of unidentifiable mush or some strange part of an animal, I ask myself this: Would the range of food I’ve tried be as far-flung if I had not been overseas for the past 5 years? Would I know what sous-vide, gorgonzola and molecular gastronomy meant had I stayed in Singapore? Would I remain in the dark ages of dining, where each meal revolved around my family’s table, the food court at Parkway and whichever kopitiam that served killer vegetarian mifen (hmm.. that’s not too bad a tradeoff)? Living in a major culinary capital like New York has invariably exposed me to new eating experiences and ethnic cuisines. At the same time, while my friends have stayed local, their palates have grown international, thanks to the flourishing of restaurants, cafes and bakeries hawking cuisines different from what you find at the ubiquitous hawker centers.
While a MacDonald’s big breakfast was as close as it gets to brunch when I was 18 (limited by my budget of course), my younger relatives have no lack of options ranging from the chain cafes at shopping malls to the Aussie/ French/ Italian eateries that boast authentic cuisine at relative wallet-friendly prices. If I had wanted French toast when I was in high school, I would have dipped two slices of Gardenia bread into egg and fried it in my kitchen. Now, French toast can be found even in the most humble eating establishment, the kopitiam. Hence, when Dawn, Chloe and Chloe’s friend visited me over the break, I was really scratching my head as to where I could these youngsters with jaded palates to experience something new and unique to New York. With Dawn, we trooped downtown to mingle with Francophiles at the always popular Balthazar. With Chloe and Huiling, it was a trip half a block away to Vynl. If I couldn’t shock them with the breadth of breakfast offerings, then I might as well revel with them in my neighborhood’s glitziest and gayest eatery.
I characterize Vynl as an upscale diner with a theme-restaurant lite vibe, appealing to the local demographics of Hell's Kitchen: young, yuppie, gay. Shimmering silver shades made by linking vinyl records drip from the ceilings, the room glows a deep fuchsia, the walls are lined with Barbie dolls made up to look like popular bands and the toilets are named Nelly, Elvis, Dolly and Cher, with mosaic walls featuring their namesakes. Depending on your mood, you can choose to listen to rock, hip hop to country while washing your hands. Extreme kitsch you say, but no one goes to Vynl for a somber meal. Instead you are always guaranteed with a satisfying meal with great atmosphere. And unlike real theme restaurants, you do not have to make do with overpriced crappy food. While the food is less distinguished compared to the décor, the brunch selection is decent, well made and and prices are competitive to its competitors in the neighborhood. My omelets tend to be dry, but the French toasts are always a good bet. Instead of the aforementioned thin gardenia slices that soaked up too much egg, the brioche toasts are astonishingly thick and very fluffy. Stacked up in doubles, the brioche must have exceeded 5 inches in height and really delicious when paired with syrup. For glitz, twinkles and toast as thick as a phone directory in a convenient local joint, Vynl's the perfect place to hit when in the neighborhood.

754 9th Ave (Bet 50th & 51st St)

1 comment:

aglassofwine said...

yo, i think our gastronomical appetites is directly correlated to the fatness of our wallets no? eating at fish n co used to be such a treat - otherwise i rarely strayed from hawker food.

eh, i have like super high expectations of my upcoming trip! good food only hor! hehe.